Sandia LabNews

Sandia, UT unveil agreement for close strategic partnership

Sandia, UT unveil agreement for close strategic partnership

Sandia, UT unveil agreement for close strategic partnership

Sandia and the multicampus University of Texas System have announced an expanded relationship. The announcement came last Thursday after the UT System Board of Regents unanimously approved a new memorandum of understanding between the system and Sandia.

The MOU calls for:

  • UT System to develop and implement an independent peer review process for what Sandia calls its science, technology, and engineering foundation.
  • Joint development and implementation of "strategic program areas that enhance" Sandia’s broad missions in national security, which are in addition to ongoing activities.
  • Increased interactions and collaborations between individual staff, faculty, and students at Sandia and UT System academic and health institutions.

Sandia President C. Paul Robinson noted that Sandia has been working for many years to establish and maintain strategic partnerships with outstanding national institutions in academia, industry, and the government.

"This action strengthens one such strategic relationship, which was created several years ago between the University of Texas System, including its medical research institutions, and Lockheed Martin Corporation and Sandia," Paul said (Lab News, April 2, 2004). "It will allow Sandia to further develop its people and enhance its technical abilities to better meet the national challenges we face."

Mark Yudof, chancellor of the UT System, said the agreement represents a "tremendous opportunity to advance the strong, existing relationship between our System and one of the country’s premier national laboratories. This is a great opportunity for our faculty, our students, and our researchers to be involved more directly in the unclassified, cutting-edge science and research being conducted by Sandia National Labs. Managing the peer review process of this research is an honor and significant contribution to the vital role that Sandia plays in its service to the nation. . . ."

The five-year agreement states that UT System has agreed to develop, perform, and be accountable for the peer review process of the Sandia Assurance System for Science, Technology, and Engineering.

The reviews will cover the effectiveness of the unclassified research for Sandia’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development Program, the Research Foundations of the Nuclear Weapon Program, and research sponsored by DOE’s Office of Science as well as Sandia-based science, technology, and engineering research sponsored by other agencies.

A newly designated UT System position on the Sandia Board of Directors will organize and lead technical reviews of Sandia’s Science and Technology Foundations, working through a newly formed subcommittee of the Mission Committee of the Sandia board. This subcommittee will be made up of at least two Sandia board members and at least two advisors from universities, two from industry, and two from government agencies or other federal or national laboratories.

As part of this activity, the UT System will open an office at Sandia. The office will be staffed by Oct. 1.

Another key aspect of the MOU will add to ongoing Sandia/UT System activities by undertaking joint technical research projects and collaborations that take advantage of their complementary competencies in simulation engineering, high-energy-density physics, sustainable energy security for transportation, and in health security.

The MOU calls for Sandia and the UT System to use joint appointments so Sandia scientists can serve as staff for graduate programs at UT institutions and UT faculty, staff, and students can have long-term involvement in Sandia research programs. In addition, the UT System plans to have its professors provide both on-site and distance education courses to Sandia personnel.

The UT System has 15 campuses, including nine academic and six health institutions, and an annual operating budget of $8.5 billion. With more than 76,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in Texas.